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RAZOR CLAM SEASON CLOSED; TOXIN FOUND IN RAZOR CLAMS HARVESTED NEAR LONG BEACH, WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SAYS

RAZOR CLAM SEASON CLOSED; TOXIN FOUND IN RAZOR CLAMS HARVESTED NEAR
 LONG BEACH, WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SAYS
 OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Washington State Department of Health:
 Routine analysis of razor clams from the Long Beach Peninsula has revealed the presence of a natural marine toxin, domoic acid. Domoic acid is produced by a microscopic marine organism, which can be concentrated in molluscan shellfish. Human illness can result from consumption of affected shellfish.
 The razor clam season on the Long Beach Peninsula is closed effective today as a precautionary measure. No illnesses have been reported. Samples of shellfish from adjacent commercial shellfish areas in Wallapa Bay and Grays Harbor have shown that those areas are not affected.
 There is no commercial harvesting of razor clams in the Long Beach Peninsula.
 In 1987, domoic acid was identified as the toxin responsible for several deaths and illnesses in humans following ingestion of contaminated mussels from Prince Edward Island, Canada. In September 1991, domoic acid was identified as the toxin responsible for the death of brown pelicans in California. This is the first time domoic acid has been identified in shellfish in Washington state.
 The illness associated with domoic acid is known as amnesic shellfish poisoning, which causes abdominal cramps, memory loss, and in severe cases, death. Onset of vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and nausea usually occur within 24 hours. In severe cases, neurological symptoms appear within 48 hours, including headaches, dizziness, disorientation, seizures, difficulty breathing, and short- term memory loss. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact their physician immediately.
 If you harvested clams from this beach during the razor clam season, which began Oct. 21, the Washington Department of Health suggests that you dispose of those razor clams.
 For further information on the closure area call the Washington Department of Fisheries at 206-753-6552. For information on human illnesses, call the Washington Department of Health at 206-753-5992, or after hours at 206-361-2914.
 -0- 11/11/91
 /CONTACT: Dean R. Owen, 206-753-3934, Maryanne Guichard, 206-753-4183, or Jack Lilja, 206-753-5959, all of the Washington State Department of Health; or Tony Floor of the Washington State Department of Fisheries, 206-753-6552/ CO: Washington State Department of Health ST: Washington IN: HEA SU: RJ-SC -- SE007 -- 3150 11/11/91 16:24 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 11, 1991
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